August 25, 2011
By Jennifer Willis
Photo by Ruth Nsubuga
I remember my own experience moving into the dorms at Arizona State University as a freshman on a hot August day nine years ago.
It was just me and my mom, and I was lucky enough to be assigned to the third floor - the third floor in an older building with no elevator. We carried my belongings up three flights of stairs, making several trips. There were a few student leaders wandering around, offering their services, but for the most part we did it all on our own.
Jennifer Willis and Jose Moreno.In short, it was nothing like Move-In at GCU.
As a fairly new employee, Thursday was my first experience with Move-In. I worked a morning shift as a Luggage Lugger. In what has become a tradition at GCU, faculty, staff, and student leaders and athletes showed up in force to welcome the incoming students and their parents and help haul their luggage into their new place of residence for the coming school year.
Cars pulled up in front of Hegel Hall, and groups of people wearing gray Mission Possible T-shirts eagerly bounded up to each vehicle, instructing students to check in while the car was being unloaded. When all was said and done, Mom, Dad and student had only themselves to take up to the room. In one fell swoop, cars were emptied and luggage was whisked away.
For the students, it was the easiest move they'll make in their lives.
The help was appreciated. "This is so wonderful," said one mother and father from New Mexico as we unloaded their son's belongings. "We didn't expect this at all."
The mother of a new student from California began to feel the emotions of the day.
"She's my first to go to college," she said as tears started to form. A GCU staffer wrapped her in a hug and offered words of encouragement, demonstrating another aspect of what our University is about.
On an emotional weekend for parents and students, the alleviation of stress by Move-In volunteers is impressive. Instead of making trip after trip between car and dorm room in the record-breaking heat that is Arizona in August, students and their parents are left to the more enjoyable tasks of unpacking, organizing and maybe making a shopping trip for last-minute supplies.
It's something I'm sure my own mother wishes we would have had on my move-in day.
Reach Jennifer Willis at 639.7383 or Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org.